Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Equanimity - they say that it is the ultimate goal to be reached. We are programmed to feel happy if we get what we want and sad if we don't get what we want or if we lose what we want. This is our natural programming, so how can we attain equanimity!!! Should we even attempt to? Is that not like the lion trying to become vegan? I do not have the mental make up to be able to follow teachings, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I have to know why the teaching is a certain way. So, there was a long time that this whole equanimity theory did not make any sense to me. Lately, there has been an understanding - equanimity can come only if I know that my responses are programmed responses and they depend on conditions. There is no self that can control responses here. If responses are empty, why get attached to them? Mind you, it is very easy to write this and extremely difficult to put in practice, but I think this is helping me a lot to grasp equanimity.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Positive Thoughts aka wholesome thoughts

Hi All,

It has been a long time since I blogged here. Work got the best of me! I sure hope it never becomes like that again. I am starving..starving for meditation, starving for reading, starving for just sitting. Had to miss the last retreat at my zendo also, which was painful. I do have two consecutive retreat weekends coming up, and sure hope that circumstances will allow me to attend.

Been through interesting times..right when I am getting totally amazed by the flawless functioning of this universe, I would see something so out of balance that I would have tears in my eyes. Still have not figured out this whole flawless vs problem thing.

Now, there is nothing in Zen that explicitly talks about positive thoughts, a little surprising, eh? But the dissection of thoughts ultimately leads to refining of thoughts because one observes what kind of thoughts one is getting and if they have positive or negative impact on him. Actually, as I am writing this, I am thinking that Zen does talk about wholesome thoughts, one of the things about right effort is to give rise to wholesome thoughts. None the less, I am noticing a shift in my thought pattern, does it help a lot - don't know..but I would take any slight shift to positive thinking over my anxious neurotic thinking. It is very difficult to change the habit energy, I am very jealous of optimists! and I would like to become one! Anyhow, just realizing that my thought pattern tends to take a pessimistic approach was something for me. Till I started sitting, I did not observe my thought patters. Would have I known it at this stage in life, whether I meditated or not, who knows? But I am thankful that I have at least observed it. Now to the most daunting task - to get rid of unwholesome thoughts and keep replacing them with wholesome ones! I am telling you - it is quite an undertaking! Wish me good luck!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Five Hindrances

They are ill-will, sensual desire, laziness, restlessness and anxiety, and doubt. Usually the one closest to me is restlessness and anxiety, but amazingly lately it has been laziness; may be it is because I am on vacation in India and don't feel like doing much..;-p. Which hindrance you identify most with?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rebirth in Buddhism

Buddha tells us not to think too much about these questions - how did world come to be, manifestation of karma, if beings exist after death etc, because these do not lead to cessation of suffering. He said he only teaches cause of suffering and cessation of it. Nonetheless, we all think about rebirth, it is a concept that can not be easily ignored. I was raised a Hindu and hence, this concept has been a part of my life since I could remember. Now the thing that was puzzling me is that Buddhism also talks about continuation of conscience, which takes birth based upon its karmic load. I was really not able to differentiate between rebirth in Hinduism and Buddhism.

In the meanwhile, I have been meaning to go to Bhikku Bodhi's lecture in Chuang Yen monastery for a long time and finally was able to go. Coincidentally, this was the topic of the day. He said something which was an aha moment for me. He clarified that the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism wrt rebirth is, that Buddhism does not recognize concept of a non-changing, permanent soul or atman, that goes through cycles of rebirth and hence attachment to this self. There is a stream of consciousness, which changes forms, like wood changes to smoke, when burnt, but no permanent entity. Hinduism considers soul as permanent and hence, also strengthens the notion of self. Soul or not, permanent or not, for me the key was attachment. If you believe in a non-changing self, there lies the attachment, which gives rise to Dukkha.